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The Garden - Center for Design and Leadership

In a world overcrowded by information and opportunities, the key challenge for innovators is to make sense and to take meaningful direction. The innovation challenge of today is a leadership challenge! At the Garden, we believe that successful innovators are those who nourish novel visions that connect fundamental human and societal needs and provide new meaning in a changing world.

Carl Larsson - at Home - the Cottage. Credit: Painters / Alamy Stock Photo

The Garden is a space where research projects, educational activities, and outreach initiatives take place and together contribute to forge the next generation of leaders who search for new directions to achieve a meaningful and sustainable future.

Together with our community of leaders, innovators, students, scholars, we address the two new pressing questions of innovation:

(1) the “why”: the meaning of innovation and its value for businesses, society, and the self,
(2) the “who”: the people and their engagement in innovation.

To address these questions, the Garden takes inspiration from the discipline of design. In fact, design seeks the creation of things that are meaningful to people. It brings meaning at the center of the activities of an organization. And, by creating real things (products, services, processes), it turns purpose and meaning into real action. Design is also participatory, and this is the kind of leadership that we envision: open to listen before talking, open to join others before leading, focused on the real outcome instead of narratives. In a world that struggles to find a direction, design can give us mindsets, principles, and methods to successfully address the innovation challenge as a leadership one.

The Researchers

Mattia Bianchi
Matts Carlgren Chair in Business Administration, Professor - Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology. Director - The Garden Center for Design and Leadership.

Roberto Verganti
Professor - Politecnico di Milano. Director - The Garden Center for Design and Leadership.

Riccardo Masiero
PhD Student - Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology

Jennie Fahlström
PhD Student - Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology